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Police storm ANLCA Secretariat over broken seal

Served national leaders invitation over resistance


One of the police officers outside the gate prevented from gaining entry

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Uneasy atmosphere pervaded the National Secretariat of the Association Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) this afternoon, as a combined team of police officers from AIG Zone 2 Monitoring Unit Lagos and Area E Command, Festac Town, stormed the National Secretariat of the association, purportedly over unauthorized breaking of police seal.

The National Executive Committee (NECOM) had yesterday afternoon broken police seal used in shutting down the facility last week Friday, believed to be in line with the ruling of a Federal High Court that suspended the national leaders from office.

Some national officers including the Vice President, Dr. Kayode Farinto, National Publicity Secretary, Mukaila Abdulazeez, factional Chairman of ANLCA Tin Can Island Chapter, Ojo Akintoye and others, reportedly resisted effort by the police to reseal the place, as the officers of the law were believed to have been locked outside and prevented from entering the facility.

It will be recalled that after the questionable breaking of the seal yesterday, the national leaders described the sealing abnitio as unwarranted, wrongful and illegal, noting that police officers involved in the sealing were hired.

This is even as they claimed that the Police Area E Command authorized the unsealing, while they further noted that the sealing was a result of communication gap.

A statement by the Media Adviser to the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the association, Mr. Joe Sanni, said after much effort by the police officers to persuade Farinto and others to open the gate fell on deaf ears, the officers served all fourteen of them in the facility invitation to report at AIG Zone 2 Monitoring Unit tomorrow.

The statement made available to our report reads: “The AIG Zone 2 Monitoring Unit and Police men from Area E command, Festac Town were at the National secretariat of ANLCA to reseal the facility between the hours of 1430 and 1545, but met a stiff resistance from those  assembled inside having a meeting, under heavy lock and key from the inside and refused to open the gate.”

Some of the stranded officers

Sanni gave the names of those inside the secretariat to include Kayode Farinto, Mukaila Abdulazeez, Eniola Igbaroola, Sonniel Onochie, Ojo Akintoye, Wale Cole, Onome, Chief Onyekachi, and many others.

“They had members of OPC with them inside and a policeman too. After much discussion with them across the locked gate, the Police, rather than force the gate open, decided to serve all (14 in number) those inside with letters of invitation to report at Zone 2 Headquarters, Onikan tomorrow at 10am.”

Sanni expressed the hope that the invitation will set the machinery for investigating the alleged role of men of Area E Command in the unsealing of the facility.

“With this situation, it is assumed that the invitation will lead to the eventual questioning of who ordered the unsealing of the AIG’s seal effected on Friday the 4th of June 2021, and illegally broken by Mukaila and Co. on the 8th of June 2021.

Some online social media has reported that the Festac Police Command which re-opened the national secretariat, blamed the sealing on communication gap. The said online media quoted the National President of ANLCA, Hon. Iju Tony Nwabunike, as having confirmed the unsealing, and added that the office was now fully open for business, while reportedly further assuring that the issues that led to the communication gaps are being resolved.

While commenting on the sealing last week, ANLCA Vice President, Dr. Kayode Farinto, reportedly said the sealing was done based on rumour and error; noting that there is no court ruling suspending the executives from further parading themselves in office; or to seal the secretariat.

“There is no court order to seal our Secretariat, so the police may have acted in error. I just got the information. Somebody must have been mischievous to have incited the police into taking that action.”

On his part, ANLCA BOT Chairman, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha said the sealing became necessary owing to what he described as the “unacceptable disregard for law and disregard for human lives” by the national leaders, whom he accused of holding court orders in contempt.

NPS Mukhaila Abdulazeez and others believed to be breaking the seal

“You know how much effort the BOT and other well meaning members have put in to resolve the issues. We have been very amenable to dialogue and resolution of all matters, but Henry Njoku and Tony Iju have been playing god.

“In fact we came this far because the BOT didn’t want to depart from the path of law and peace. At the appropriate time, we went to court, but each time court grants an order, this people simply disregard such orders.

“The last order from the Federal High Court Kano they also ignored and have been acting as though the law and the judiciary belong to them. We are sick and tired of the madness going on and we approached the police for enforcement of court order. That is exactly what has happened.”

Commenting on the sealing and unsealing of the national secretariat, a former national officer, Chidi Anthony Opara, RFF, FIIM described official posturing of government enforcement departments and agencies in respect of court rulings emanating from the ANLCA crisis as appalling and disappointing.

He said unless police officers responsible for assisting the suspended national officers in removing police seal from the facility are identified and sanctioned, the development could as well have been encouraged by superior officers as an in-house culture.

His words: “Nothing highlights the condemnable role of the various branches of the Nigerian officiadom, especially the Police, in ANLCA crisis than the recent role played by the Nigerian Police in the sealing and unsealing of the National Secretariat under one week.

“On 4th June, 2021, police personnel claiming to act on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police, sealed the ANLCA National Secretariat.  A faction of the association informed news people that the sealing was in obedience to an order by a Federal High Court restraining the ANLCA National Executive Committee from parading itself as such.

“The other faction of the association insisted that there was no such Court order. This faction went further to say that those who sealed the National Secretariat were not police personnel but a group of thugs. On 8th June, 2021, another group of police personnel also claiming order from the Inspector-General of Police unsealed the ANLCA National Secretariat with fanfare.

Pictures of Mukhaila and the others celebrating over bottles of drinks inside the secretariat after the seal was broken

“Surprisingly, the group of police personnel that unsealed the ANLCA National Secretariat did not, according to news media reports, agree with the allegation that those who sealed the ANLCA National Secretariat earlier were thugs. They were reported to have confirmed that those who sealed the place were police personnel and reportedly blamed their action on “gap in communication”.

“All actions taken by officiadom in civilized societies must be explained in clear terms, vague explanations are not permitted, thus, the police must explain the reason why it has to seal and unseal the National Secretariat of an independent nongovernmental body in a space of four days.

“It is not enough to try to explain away the embarrassing action with the very vague “gap in communication”. The police owe the public an explanation of what “gap in communication”, he enthused, adding:

“Anything short of such clear explanation would confirm the widespread belief that the police and other branches of the Nigerian officiadom are the ones fanning the flames of the ANLCA crisis because of the financial gains that is being made from the crisis.”

Efforts to get  reaction of the factional Chairman of Tin Can Island Chapter, Ojo Akintoye on the current development failed as he did not answer our reporter’s telephone call. He did not also respond to text message sent to him on the matter, as at the time of going to press.

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